Actually this is a one-day delayed post for this day of the animals. World Animal Day was first celebrated in an ecological convention held in 1931 in Florence, Italy. This event was meant to commemorate the plight of endangered species. The participants decided to celebrate the event on October 4, in honor of the patron saint of animals, St. Francis of Assisi. The tradition has continued from thereon to celebrate not only the animals but also the people who care for them.
According to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNBCD), the Philippines is considered one of those countries with a megadiverse population of terrestial and marine species, scattered all over the 7,100 islands. More animal species are being discovered in this country, all of them facing the threat of extinction.
Among those newly-discovered species is the Sierra Madre Forest Monitor Lizard (varanus bitatawa), a carnivorous animal found named after its habitat located in Northeastern Philippines, being hunted by the locals for food. It lives mostly on trees and reaches a length of six-feet-and-a-half tall, with its unique feature as being endowed with two sex organs (penises). Other newly discovered enangered animals in the Philippines are the following: two (2) owl species such as the Cebu hawk owl (Ninox Rumsey) and theCamiguin hawk owl (Ninox leventisi), with both owl species singing duets, were named after the Philippine provinces where they were discovered; forty (40) ant species, some of which have unique mouth and jaws, and are found in Mt. Isarog in Camarines Sur Province; two (2) frog species in Southern Leyte Province; seven (7) species of mice of the genus Apomys, which are small to medium in length, having tails that are longer than their bodies, and are found in all Philippine provinces except for Palawan, Sulu, Batanes and the Babuyan Group of Islands (north of Batanes); four (4) new species of freshwater, colorful, generally purple-colored crabs (Insulamon Palawanense), discovered in the inland waters of Palawan Province.
Philippine laws enacted to protect these endangered species is The Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, or Republic Act No. 9147 approved on July 30, 2001. To protect the wildlife abounding in a particular area in the Philippines, includes the protection of the habitat. This suppletory law is The National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992 or Republic Act No. 7586. Section 4 (a) and (b) defines the NIPAS as “all designated protected areas to maintain essential ecological processes and life-support systems…, and the areas “identified (are) portions of land and water set aside by reason of their unique physical and biological significance…”
There are also laws to protect animals not in danger of extinction. The oldest Philippine legislative issuance enacted was ACT No. 1285 on January 19, 1905, which states the incorporation of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) into the government. Section 2 of this law vests in the SPCA the authority to enforce laws on animal welfare. This law was further amended by Act No. 3548 on November 22, 1939 and Commonwealth Act No. 148 on November 8, 1946. They define the composition of the SPCA. Republic Act No. 1178 further amended ACT No. 1285 on June 19, 1954, granting the SPCA tax exemptions.
To further protect the welfare of animals, Congress enacted Republic Act (RA) No. 8485 or The Animal Welfare Act of 1998 many years later. Section 1 of the law defines the scope to these animals to wit:
“ It is the purpose of this Act to protect and promote the welfare of all animals in the Philippines by supervising and regulating the establishment and operations of all facilities utilized for breeding, maintaining, keeping, treating or training of all animals either as objects of trade or as household pets. For purposes of this Act, pet animal shall include birds.”
Section 2 of RA 8485 vests in the Bureau of Animal Industry the authority to issue certificates of registration to entities involved in the operation of these animal habitats, while Section 5 organizes the Committee in charge of implementing the rules on animal welfare, led by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). Among the agencies involved is the SPCA. Section 6 of the law states what animals could be lawfully slaughtered including its manner of slaughter. It also bans maltreatment, torture, overcrowding in facilities, dogfights, and horsefights. Section 7 states the obligation of each pet owner to preserve its habitat, wherein its destruction would be tantamount to cruelty, while Section 8 states the penalties for violating said law.
URL Sources: (Excluding Philippine laws)